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Review: Indian Has Flipped to Italian at AR Cucina and It's Time to Order a Negroni

Review: Indian Has Flipped to Italian at AR Cucina and It's Time to Order a Negroni


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Los Angeles Times' food critic reviews a Culver City restaurant

Orecchiette pasta, with house pork sausage, escarole, Fresno chile, olive oil and Ricotta Salata.

Cooking is an important skill to have if you are running a restaurant — it is ostensibly why everyone is there. So is a generous spirit, supplemented perhaps by a spot of design sense, a feel for your community and the ability to lead by force of example. What tends to get mentioned less often is an aptitude for math — your quenelles might be the best in the world, but if the numbers don’t add up, your restaurant won’t last long.

So nobody in the trade was especially surprised when Akasha Richmond, whose flagship restaurant Akasha helped pioneer downtown Culver City’s restaurant row, abruptly closed her Indian restaurant Sambar in the fall and changed it overnight into the Italian restaurant AR Cucina. Everybody had more or less liked Sambar — the cocktails were good, the slightly hippie-ish Indian food was tasty, and prime-time reservations were reasonably hard to come by — but apparently, people don’t tend to spend that much money in Westside Indian restaurants, especially ones mere blocks from some of L.A.’s better established Indian restaurants.

Now there is late-afternoon aperitivo hour on the patio, and a cheerful wine list, and clever cocktails called things like La Dolce Vita and Tuscan Sunrise. Clare Ward, famous for unusual cocktails tinged with vegetable infusions and Indian herbs, has here applied her keen palate to Negronis, some based on rum, rye whiskey and mescal; all of them nudged with obscure bitters and the barest hint of citrus.

Read the rest of the review in the LA Times.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.


What does it mean to be a chef in Los Angeles in 2017?

You know what a Los Angeles chef looks like, right? She’s the one tweezing pea shoots and celery-root chips onto a bowl of quinoa, lacto-fermenting turnips or scattering wildflowers onto a cheese pizza. Unless he’s the dude slamming carne asada onto the makeshift grill in a converted auto body shop, cultivating his own yeast cultures or slicing pigs ears into a salad.

She leans toward veganism except when she’s marinating boar collar in fish sauce and palm sugar. He wants to serve you family-style, every dish on the table at once, because that’s the way he likes to eat when he has an evening out. She has met the woman who dove for the sea urchin, the family that raised the pork, and at least three of the kids who helped grow the lettuces as part of a high school project. He will tell you that his favorite restaurant is Noma, but secretly, his fondest memory of his last trip to Copenhagen may be of the Thai noodles he ate on the way back from the airport.

Los Angeles, by most accounts, is the food city of the moment. The list of chefs set to open new places here over the next year or so — Dave Beran, April Bloomfield, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Christina Tosi, Jean-Georges Vongerichten — reads like the roster for a James Beard Award all-star game. Los Angeles-nurtured trends such as $7 toast, things in a bowl, new-wave sushi and the ubiquitous avocado continue to spread throughout the country, if not the world. Foreign visitors who used to disparage local cooking with the old Woody Allen line about mashed yeast can now tell you what might be on a pizza at Gjelina and ask nervously about the weekly schedule for the Kogi truck.

So what makes a Los Angeles chef?

There are the usual answers, which include a 12-month growing season, customers who have weaned themselves from white-tablecloth service, and a famous willingness to try new things. The access to deep-cut non-European cooking is unparalleled — it is possible in some neighborhoods to find restaurants serving a dozen regional cuisines from China or Latin America within a few minutes’ walk — and with it comes the possibility of nearly infinite new flavors and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.

Los Angeles is by no means an inexpensive place to do business, but the cost of setting up a restaurant here is lower than it is in San Francisco and Manhattan, and some of the best restaurants here — Taco Maria, Trois Mec, Alma, Kali — began their lives as food trucks, occasional pop-ups or faded storefronts. Visitors are often astonished to discover that the restaurant they have read about in national magazines turns out to be like Chichen Itza, a stall in a community center food court, or Baroo, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and a botanica in a dingy mini-mall.

Chefs’ success stories in other areas may be less likely to involve late-night taco tables or pop-up evening residencies at breakfast counters. Gutsiness goes a long way here, and not necessarily the kind of gutsiness that it takes to survive on the line at a temple of haute cuisine. The city is a great place to do entry-level capitalism.

Is it difficult to incorporate Vietnamese flavors when your customers are likely to have visited — or emigrated from — Hoi An? Can a decorated chef charge $18 for a bowl of pozole when the Mexican restaurant down the street charges $7.99? In a city without a harsh winter, is there ever a good time to serve choucroute, cassoulet or boeuf bourguignon?

L.A.’s place as a food city has also been as a cipher for someplace else, a narrative that can turn any way a creative chef decides it should turn. A Korean restaurant doesn’t have to look like a Korean restaurant here, but it can often feel more Korean than its counterpart in Seoul, which is feeding a different hunger.

Authenticity is obviously a relative construct — cuisines change all the time — but it becomes valuable here as kind of a benchmark a point of reference. One of the best pizzerias here is often criticized by visiting Italians who remark that the pizza is unlike anything you taste in Italy. This is perfectly true, yet the pizzas are delicious.



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